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Yala lab under investigation following Covid-19 testing errors

Maya Taylor

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Chiangrai Times

A medical lab in the southern province of Yala, which returned 40 “false positive” Covid-19 test results, is being investigated to determine where the errors came from. Thai PBS World reports that experts from Prince of Songkhla University in Hat Yai and the Medical Science Department in Nonthaburi province have been sent to the lab to investigate the situation.

The issue came to light when 40 people who had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, all tested negative when second tests were performed at a lab in Songkhla. Dr Opas Karnkavinpong, Director General at the Medical Science Department, says a third and final round of tests is now being carried out by his department, with results expected today.

He adds that errors are not uncommon and may be the result of faulty equipment or human error. The World Health Organisation requires a particular test, known as a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCT). This test can be used on patients displaying only mild symptoms, but it is expensive and complicated and requires extensive training for those using it. He adds that two lab tests were originally required prior to confirming a case of Covid-19 infection.

Thailand now has 150 testing facilities nationwide, including the original two at the Medical Science Department and Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn Hospital. Between them, they have carried out over 227,000 tests and the number of tests continues to grow. The testing rate has now increased to around 6,000 a week, double that of April.

Dr Opas says the testing facilities are vital in stopping the spread of the virus and asks the public to have faith in the standards being adhered to.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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